Race or color

You have protections against discrimination.

You have protections against discrimination based on your race or color. Race discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race. Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Discrimination based on characteristics associated with race—such as skin color, hair texture, or certain facial features—violates the law, even though not all members of the race share the same characteristics. Even though race and color overlap, they are not synonymous. Color discrimination can occur between people of different races or ethnicities, or between people of the same race or ethnicity.

An employment practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, can be unlawful if it negatively impacts people of a certain race or color without demonstrating that the practice is job-related and consistent with business necessity.

You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, engage in any protected equal employment opportunity (EEO) activity, or oppose harassment or discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer.

Male African American office worker reacts negatively to bad news. Stressed employee intern suffering from gender discrimination or unfair criticism. Shot of a young businessman experiencing stress

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

For additional assistance, please contact:

OFCCP: 1-800-397-6251 (TTY 1-877-889-5627) or the OFCCP Help Desk

EEOC: 1-800-669-4000 (ASL Video Phone: 1-844-234-5122), info@eeoc.gov or use the Public Portal

What this means for you

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of:

  • your race,
  • your color or skin tone,
  • your hair texture,
  • stereotypes or assumptions about your abilities, traits, or performance based on your race or color,
  • marriage or association with an individual of a different race or color,
  • membership or association with ethnic based organizations or groups,
  • attendance or participation in schools or places of worship generally associated with certain minority groups,
  • cultural practices or characteristics often linked to race or ethnicity, such as cultural dress or manner of speech, or
  • medical conditions that predominantly affect one race.

Examples of discrimination

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job or promotion,
  • given lesser assignments,
  • forced to take leave, or
  • otherwise disciplined

because of your race or color.

Additional resources

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.